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Full text of "Fishermen's contingency fund"

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Single copies available from: 

National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Financial Services Division, F/M22, 
Washington, D.C. 20235 



Introduction 

Title IV of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act 
Amendments of 1978 established the Fishermen's 
Contingency Fund (FCF) to compensate commercial 
fishermen for property or economic loss caused by 
oil and gas obstructions on the U.S. Outer Con- 
tinental Shelf (OCS). The FCF is funded by fees 
assessed oil and gas companies operating on the 
OCS. The program is administered by the Financial 
Services Division of the National Marine Fisheries 
Service in Washington, D.C. 



What can the Fishermen's Contin- 
gency Fund do for me? 

The Fund can pay you if your commerical fishing 
operations suffer a casualty because of energy 
obstructions on the Outer Continental Shelf. 

If you damage or lose your fishing equipment or 
vessel, the Fund can pay you for your property 
loss. 

If you lose fishing time, the Fund can pay you for 
your economic loss. 

What will the Fund pay me for Property 
Loss? 

If your fishing gear can be repaired, the Fund 
will pay you the repair cost. 

If your fishing gear must be replaced, the Fund 
will pay you the replacement cost. 

For fishing vessel loss or damage, the Fund will 
only pay the deductible on your vessel insurance. 
If, for example, you have $45,000 worth of damage 
to your vessel and your hull and machinery policy 
has a $5,000 deductible, the Fund will pay you 
$5,000. Your insurance company should pay 
you the other $40,000. 

What will the Fund pay me for Eco- 
nomic Loss? 

The Fund will pay you 50 percent of the gross 
income you lost as a result of the casualty. This 
covers gross income you otherwise would have 
earned from the date the casualty occurs to the 
date you reasonably should have been back 
fishing. 






• How do you Calculate what the Fund 
can pay for Lost Fishing Time? 

Determine the amount of lost fishing time. This 
begins on the day and time the damage was first 
discovered and ends on the day and time you 
should reasonably have been back fishing. 

Determine your average daily income based on 
the trip tickets for the three trips immediately 
before the trip on which the casualty occurred. 
Do this as follows: 

(1) Add the total days for each of the three 
trips. 

(2) Add the value of the catch for each of the 
three trips. 

(3) Divide the total trip value by the total trip 
days to get the average income per day. 

Multiply the days lost from fishing by the aver- 
age income per day. You get 50 percent of this 
amount as compensation for lost fishing time. 



Do I have to Calculate this myself? 

You should just so you'll have a good idea what 
you're owed for lost fishing time. But we'll check 
your calculations anyway. So, if you prefer, you 
can just include the necessary information in 
your claim and rely on us to do the calculation. 

Here's the information you must include in your 
claim to allow us to calculate lost fishing time: 

(1) Trip tickets for the last tf ree trips before the 
trip on which the casua :y occurred and for 
the trip after the casualty 

(2) The day and time each of these trips began 
and the day and time each of them ended. 

(3) The day and time you were first back fishing 
after the casualty. 



Will the Fund pay me for Anything 
Else? 

Yes. The Fund can also pay you for some other 
incidental costs. The fees of attorneys, account- 
ants, or other consultants in connection with a 
claim can be paid from the Fund. Any other 
consequential damages can also be paid if it 
can be demonstrated that they resulted from 
the casualty. 



Do I have to Prove that my Casualty 
was Caused by an Obstruction Re- 
lated to Energy Activities on the Outer 
Continental Shelf? 

Yes, you must prove this by a preponderance of 
the evidence if you didn't file a 15-day report. 
Preponderance of the evidence simply means 
something is more likely to be true than it is to 
be untrue. 

If you did file a 15-day report, however, you 
generally don't have to prove this because your 
casualty is presumed to have been caused by 
an obstruction related to energy activities on 
the Outer Continental Shelf. 

In addition to filing the 15-day report, you must 
also meet a few other conditions to quality for 
this presumption. These are: 

(1) You were commercially fishing at the time 
the casualty occurred. 

(2) You were, at the time the casualty occurred, 
within a 3-mile radius of any portion of a 
leased block, pipeline, easement, right of 
way, or other oil or gas production, explor- 
ation, or development activity on the Outer 
Continental Shelf. 

(3) There was no record of an obstruction at the 
casualty site on the most recent nautical 
charts or in the Notice to Mariners. This does 
not apply to casualties caused by pipelines, 
which will be paid whether or not they were 
charted or in the Notices. 

(4) There was no proper surface marker or lighted 
buoy at the casualty site. 

If you filed a 15-day report and if you meet the 
four conditions above, your casualty will be 
presumed to have been caused by energy activ- 
ities on the Outer Continental Shelf. If not, you'll 
have to prove that it was. 



What is a 15-Day Report? 

This is what you send to us in order to help 
qualify for the presumption that your casualty 
is eligible for payment from the Fund. 

You must send it to us no later than the 15th day 
after you first return to port from the trip when 
the casualty occurred. If it's later than this, you 
can't qualify for the presumption. 



The 15-day report must briefly contain the 
following information: 

(1) What kind of damage occurred. 

(2) Where the damage occurred. 

(3) When the damage occurred. 

(4) The name of the fishing vessel involved. 

(5) Your name, an address, and social security 
number or tax identification number. 

You can file a 15-day report by phone, in person, 
by telegram or by mail. These reports must be filed 
with the Financial Services Division, National Marine 
Fisheries Services, 3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20235, (202) 634-4688. Our telex 
number is 467-856, (answerback is US-Com-FISH- 
Cl). 

If you file a 15-day report, we suggest you use 
our form to do so, but you don't have to. 

• Do I have to do anything else in order 
to get paid? 

Yes. You must file a claim. You must do this 
whether or not you filed a 15-day report. You 
must file your claim no later than 90 days from 
the date the casualty occurred. If you don't do 
this, you can't be paid. 

Remember, your claim must be filed no later 
than 90 days from the date the casualty occurred 
(not 90 days from the date you filed a 15-day 
report). 

• What has to be in this Claim? 

We suggest you use our claim form because it 
indicates all the required information, but you 
don't have to. 

Generally, all forms of claims must contain the fol- 
lowing information: 

(1) The exact location of the casualty in Loran 
C coordinates (or the next best locational 
device if you don't use Loran C). 

(2) How the casualty occurred (what happened) 
and what you think caused it. 

(3) How much damage there was (what got dam- 
aged or lost, what it cost to repair or replace, 
how much fishing time was lost, and how 
much gross income was lost). 

(4) Proof that you owned the property lost or 
damaged in the casualty. 



(5) Evidence that the casualty was caused by 
an obstruction related to energy activities 
on the Outer Continental Shelf. (You don't 
have to submit this evidence if you filed a 
15-day report and meet the other four con- 
ditions required for the presumption). 

(6) The necessary documentation for your claim. 
This includes: 

(a) Witness statements, if you have any. 

(b) Receipts or other evidence that you owned 
the property lost or damaged. 

(c) Estimates or receipts for repair or replace- 
ment of the property lost or damaged. 

(d) Trip tickets to help establish how much 
gross income you lost. (We need trip tick- 
ets for the three trips before the casualty 
and the next trip after the casualty). 

• Can I Send an Incomplete Claim if all 
the Information Isn't Readily Avail- 
able? 

Yes. Don 't get too close to the 90-day deadline just 
because you don't have all the required information. 

In general, your claim should be as complete as 
possible when you send it. But, if some items are 
missing, send an incomplete claim. Whatever you 
do, get a claim (complete or incomplete) mailed to 
us before the 90th day following the date the casu- 
alty was discovered. 

If we get an incomplete claim, our claims adjustors 
will write you a letter telling you what's missing and 
asking you to send it within 30 days of their letter's 
date. If you don't send the additional information 
within the additional 30 days, your claim can 't be 
paid. 

So, you've got 90-days from the date you discov- 
ered the casualty to mail a claim. And you can have 
another 30 days from the date we notify you to send 
any required information which may not have been 
in your claim. 

Meeting these deadlines is essential. 

• Where do I Send A Claim? 

Send it to us. The address is: Chief, Financial Ser- 
vices Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 
20235. 



• Can I Call Somebody if I Need Help? 

Yes. Call us anytime at (202) 634-4688 if you need 
help. 

• How Long Will it Take to Process my 
Claim? 

We'll process your claim within 60-days from the 
date all required information is received by us. 

• Can I Appeal Your Decision on my 
Claim? 

Yes. But you must appeal to us no later than 30 
days from the date of our letter giving you an 
initial determination on your claim. If you appeal 
later than this, your appeal can't be considered. 

You have an additional 30-days from the date you 
appeal to submit any further evidence needed to 
support your appeal. We must process your appeal 
within 60 days from the date you submit it. 

• Outline the Critical Times Involved 

—Day No. 1. You first discover your casualty. 

— 15 days after first returning to port. This is the 
last day you can submit your 15-day report (but 
you should submit it earlier just to be safe). 

— 90-days after the casualty was first discovered. 
This is the last day you can submit your claim (but 
you should submit it earlier just to be safe). 

—30-days after the date of our letter notifying you 
that your claim is incomplete. This is the last day 
you can submit the additional information (but 
you should submit it earlier just to be safe). 

— 60-days after we have a complete claim. This is 
the last day we have to send you an initial deter- 
mination on your claim (but we'll try to do it 
earlier). 

— 30-days from the date of our letter notifying you 
of our initial determination. This is the last day 
you can appeal our initial determination. 

— 30-days after you appeal. This is the last day you 
can submit additional evidence to support your 
appeal. 

— 60-days after you appeal. This is the last day we 
have to send you a determination on your appeal. 

• How do you Determine if I met my 
Time Deadlines? 



If you phone us, we use the date of your call. 

If you come to us in person, we use the date of your 
visit. 

If you mail something to us, we use the postmark 
date on the envelope you mailed it in. 

In What Situations Can my Claim be 
Denied? 

If your claim is submitted late, we must deny it. 

If the evidence indicates you are negligent, we may 
deny all or part of your claim. 

If you didn't submit a 15-day report, we must deny 
your claim unless it proves by a preponderance of 
the evidence that your casualty was caused by an 
obstruction related to energy activities on the 
Outer Continental Shelf. 

If you did submit a 15-day report, your casualty will 
be presumed to have been caused by an obstruction 
related to energy activities on the Outer Continen- 
tal Shelf. Nevertheless, we may still deny your claim if 
any of the following are involved: 



(1) You weren't commercially fishing at the time 
of the casualty. 

(2) The obstruction (excluding pipelines) which 
caused your casualty was recorded on nauti- 
ical charts, published in the Notices to 
Mariners, or marked by a proper surface 
marker. (Casualties occurring within a 1/4 
mile radius of charted or published ob- 
structions are presumed to have been caused 
by them). 

(3) If the casualty occurred in State waters (rather 
than Federal waters on the Outer Continen- 
tal Shelf), we must deny the claim unless 
you can establish that the obstruction (even 
though in State waters) was more likely than 
not related to energy activities on the Outer 
Continental Shelf. An example of this might 
be heavy surface traffic through State waters 
to energy activities on the Outer Continen- 
tal Shelf. 

(4) The casualty didn't occur within a 3-mile 
radius of on a leased block, pipeline, ease- 
ment, right of way, or other Outer Continental 
Shelf oil or gas production, exploration, or 
development activity (in this case, you would 
have to prove that the casualty was caused 
by an obstruction related to offshore energy 
activity). 



When Do I Get Paid? 

As soon as we make a favorable determination on 
your claim, we'll send you a letter telling you how 
much we'll pay you. We'll also send you a settle- 
ment agreement and a subrogation agreement at 
the same time. The settlement agreement is your 
agreement not to appeal our decision and to repay 
any amount should the claim be subsequently 
reduced. The subrogation agreement is your agree- 
ment to transfer to us your right to sue the party 
causing your casualty and to assist us if we pursue 
recovery of damages from that party. If you sign 
these agreements and send them back to us, we'll 
pay you immediately. If not, you'll have to wait until 
30-days after our initial letter telling you how much 
we'll pay you. 

Payment will be by U.S. Treasury check. 



v U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1985 - 490-100 - 227/20031 



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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 
Malcolm Baldrige, Secretary 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

Anthony J. Calio, Administrator 

National Marine Fisheries Service 

William G. Gordon, 

Assistant Administrator for Fisheries 



October. 1985 



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